A coalition of domestic observers and Civil Society Organisations that were accredited to monitor the rerun election in Bayelsa State on Saturday expressed concern about some lapses noticed since Friday, describing it as unhealthy.
The coalition also confirmed reports that some collation officers from the Independent National Electoral Commission have been compromised by the All Progressives Congress with N300,000 bribe.
The group specifically wondered why INEC, through its actions and inaction, has paved the way for desperate politicians to thwart their efforts for a credible election.
While appealing to INEC and security agencies to be up to their responsibilities, the observers at a press conference held at the secretariat of the Nigeria Union of Journalists in Yenagoa, also recounted their ordeal and worries about the activities of some politicians and their reign of terror.
The leader of the of the coalition and Director General of the Centre for Credible Leadership and Citizenship Awareness, Dr. Nwambu Gabriel, expressed concern over “some fundamental issues that has erupted in the Bayelsa election rerun that calls for urgent attention”.
Gabriel said: “We learnt that some of them have collected N300,000 and have swapped the original with the fake forms. And they released the original sheets to some disgruntled politicians. The essence of this is to doctor and effect election results….
“The registration of civil societies organisation is basically to observe the degree of compliance election is to ensure compliance of INEC, politicians and their supporters. That is why observers groups are purely apolitical and purely neutral.
“I want to state very clearly that the essence of history is to learn from the past. And to mitigate and prevent the occurrence of sad event . Yesterday we were at the waterfront, trying to get our chattered boats for our onward movement to Southern Ijaw. We were also amazed that some INEC officials were also there even earlier than us. They were there from 6am to 6pm with sensitive materials for the election of Southern Ijaw but they could not get speed boats to take them there.
“We feel that this is odd because it is expected that sensitive materials should have gotten to their destinations earlier because of the difficult terrain. The terrain is difficult and most of the officials from Abuja and other places in Nigeria are not used to some of these areas. And they stayed for a whole day dedicated to their work but at d end of the day, could not get speed boats on further inquiry We discovered INEC had contracted someone to get boats for them.
“We are addressing this conference because today we received another information that while materials are being moved to their destinations, as we speak to you, snatching of ballot and other sensitive materials have commenced. I mentioned history because some of these are lacunas that were noticed during the December 5 polls. So we thought that some of these things would have been mitigated but sadly it seems to be reoccurring.
“Again there are wide spread speculations that some of the presiding officers that are designated to some polling units have decided to compromise and trade off forming EC8A,which is the form on which you are going to enter the results from each polling unit.
“We want to make a recommendation to INEC. We are calling on Prof. Mahmud Yakubu who we believe in so much. We know that know that he would replicate and even do better than Prof Jega, but some few people are determined to rubbish his good works. We trust him and we trust INEC and we know that they are determined they are determined to enthrone a credible election in Bayelsa State and Nigeria in general.
“But we want to recommend that INEC should announce the results at the polling units soon after election, and at the wards before onward movement of results to the general collation centre. This is synonymous to a credible election, We are not indicting anybody. If possible the results should be airlifted because i know We have the support of the Nigeria airforce and police helicopters. to avoid the incident of snatching.
“I also know that before the elections there has been reports of violence, killings and these perpetrators are known. I am also calling on security agencies to bring these perpetrators to book to serve as a deterrent to other. If they are allowed to guide scotfree it will send a wrong signal across the country that you can do whatever you want in the name of election and nothing will happen We must stop this. Prof Atahiru Jega left a good legacy that were must build on for credible election.”